The Innovation Arena was a hive of activity at the National Ploughing Championships, which took place from the 22nd – 24th September 2015 in Ratheniska, Co. Laois. Many of the 281,000 people that attended the Ploughing came to see the 50+ exhibitors in the Innovation Arena.
It was the biggest year yet for the Innovation Arena, part sponsored by Enterprise Ireland along with The Farmers Journal. With 170 applications received, the ones that were chosen to exhibit were mainly start-up entrepreneurial led ideas and also a mixture of established companies and spinout research projects.
Tuesday morning saw the Pitch competition being held, where 8 companies pitched for a prize of €1,000. Cork based “Reproinfo” came out on top in this competition.
Minister Bruton arrived on Tuesday afternoon, along with the NPA’s Anna May McHugh, to announce the category winners. Dairymaster’s Swiftflo Commander took the top prize.
The full list of winners:
- Dairymaster’s Swiftflo Commander – Overall winner
- Cross Agri Engineering – Agri Engineering Award winner in established company category
- Malone Engineering – Agri Engineering Special Merit Award winner in established company category
- Acres Machinery – Agri Engineering Award winner in start-up company category
- Reproinfo – Animal Health Award winner in established company category
- Hydrasure – Animal Health Award winner in start-up company category
- Remoquip – Safety Award winner in established company category
- Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming – Safety Award winner in start-up company category
- Dairymaster – Software Award winner in established company category
- DIT Hothouse – Software Award Special Merit winner in established company category
- True North Technologies – Software Award winner in start-up company category
- AgManor – Software Award Special Merit winner in start-up company category
On Thursday, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, announced the International Bursary award to the Young Innovator. This was awarded to Ian Bolger from Co. Carlow for his Safe Attach device which warns the operator if an attachment is not properly connected to a loader. The prize includes flights, accommodation and tickets to attend AgriTechnica in Germany in November 2015.
The 2015 Innovation Arena was a huge success and has shown the high level of innovation across the agri sector. It is only due to get bigger and stronger every year.